Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls and became the first player to take 100 wickets in Twenty20s as Sri Lanka earned a consolation victory against New Zealand on Friday.
With the three-match series already lost, Sri Lanka chose to bat first and made only 125-8, its lowest score of the series. But Malinga hastened his side to a thumping win by taking New Zealand’s first four wickets in the third over of their reply. New Zealand was all out for 88 and Sri Lanka won by 37 runs.
Malinga bowled Colin Munro off the third ball of his second over, the 100th wicket in T20s for the 36-year-old paceman. Then Malinga trapped Hamish Rutherford lbw, needing a review to overturn the umpire’s not-out decision, before bowling Colin de Grandhomme with a trademark yorker, and delivering another yorker to hit Ross Taylor on the foot for a plumb lbw.
The 4-for-4 was the second in T20s, after Rashid Khan for Afghanistan against Ireland in February. The hat trick was also Malinga’s second in T20s. He also achieved a 4-for-4 in one-day internationals, against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup.
In Malinga’s next over, he had Tim Seifert caught at first slip to give him figures of 5-3 off 16 balls at that stage. Malinga finished with career-best T20 figures of 5-6 off four overs, eclipsing his 5-31 in 2012 against England at the same venue.
“Last two games we were on track but we didn’t get through, but this game we wanted to win because all the people were waiting for a win,” Malinga said.
How about the 4-for-4? “Simple. Not much complicated. Just try to bowl my wicket-taking ball. I think yorker is the best way to go.”
A brief rally by Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner ended when New Zealand lost three more wickets for one run. Fast bowler Tim Southee finished with the top score of 28 from 23 balls.
Danushka Gunathilaka top scored for Sri Lanka with 30 in an underwhelming innings in which spinners Mitchell Santner took 3-12 and Todd Astle 3-28.
The test series was drawn 1-1 and New Zealand won the T20s 2-1.
Southee, New Zealand’s stand-in captain, said the series was a learning curve for his young team.
“Malinga’s bowling sort of broke the back of us,” he said. “A class spell from a class T20 bowler and not much our guys could do.”